The Bible is the singular revelation from God that reveals the plan of God for the full conformity of an individual to the image of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the revelation that proclaims the universal Gospel for all mankind. It is the revelation that carefully unveils the self of all who come to its pages. It is the revelation that discloses how Christ can take the life and form it to become what God desires for the individual.
Through the medium of the world and the Devil, the mankind of Adam has had a multitude of voices to conform it into their image. Every day these voices call for conformity through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Publications, internet, television, government, education, music, pleasures of the world and its wardrobe, and especially the ally found within (the Old Man) all vie for conformity of that self to a universal man for all men.
The Bible reveals to all the need of coming into another kingdom, of another Man coming within the inner man of my soul, and of the conformity to this Man, Christ Jesus. The voices without and the Old Man within call us to become a man of the world. But when we become a Christian, the New Man (Christ Jesus within us) hears the one voice of the Word of God and His Spirit.
Although the world desires the cloning of men to the ultimate loss of their individuality, this is not God’s desire or will. God wants to preserve the individuality of every soul while bringing it into conformity to the New Man Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all mankind. We carefully read in the New Testament that though we are baptized into one body (the Christ), we are individual members; our purpose or function is uniquely different while complementing the whole. How does this happen?
The Bible: The Revelation of Humanity
The Bible was written with the principles of God woven through the many stories of men and women. It is not a collection of empty religious platitudes that typically mark other religious writings. It is a book dealing with humanity, with men and women, boys and girls. It tells their history, their thoughts, their motives, their failures, their weaknesses, and their successes. It speaks of a multitude of individuals; several lives are fully unfolded from birth to death. It is important to understand that the Bible was not written for angels; it was written for humans. It is God’s revelation for humans, their history and their living.
The Bible tells us of births, specific births, and how such births affected the lives of their families and others. It reveals how individuals came providentially into their birth genealogies and nativity surroundings and families. It reveals those who succumbed to the weaknesses of those surroundings, while others rose above their birth surroundings. The Bible amazingly gives such a variety of births and family environments that an individual should be able to find himself somewhere among its vast characters. There are enough stories presented in the Bible about one’s birth situation, no matter what the situation is. Did providence appoint me to be an only child? Or the second, third, fourth, or fifth? The Bible will even speak of those who were born in a religious context and those who were not. It reveals the history of deaths, and the circumstances surrounding the different deaths—from glorious ones to suicides. It tells of those who died young (including those who died in infancy), of those who died in their prime, and of those who died in old age.
The Bible tells us of those who were born in poverty, in wealth, and in-between. It speaks of those who were born well, of those born with afflictions and handicaps; it speaks of those who came into afflictions and handicaps after they were born. It speaks of blind men, the lame, and those who fell and became lame. Yes, God has given within the Bible so many human examples that they truly reveal every scenario of life.
Sometimes the Word reveals the physical problems of the individual—a woman with an issue of blood, a leper, a palsied one, or a blind man from birth or later in life. Other historical declarations do not reveal what the problem was, such as Paul’s thorn in the flesh; however, enough information is revealed for men to gain from that which is told and even from that which is not known. The Christian is personally to gain from the principles revealed in each human situation.
Every man is born, and every man dies; every man is afflicted in some way or another. But the Bible reveals that every man is also “tempted.” God will even give a variety of incidents where the steps of temptation came to the thoughts and heart. James 1:14 declares, “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” Every man is different in this, so God gave us in His Word a variety of people and their temptations. How did men such as Joseph, Samson, David, and Solomon handle the temptation of lust? We read of temptation to wealth, to the world, and to fleshly sins. We are told of the first man’s temptation (the Devil through a serpent), and the second man’s temptation only from the Devil (Matthew 4); yet why did one yield and the other overcome? How do you overcome temptation, and how do you recover after succumbing to temptation? God has given so many stories of men’s temptations, how they sinned, how they recovered, and how they overcame.
The Bible unveils people’s lives to include their failures and successes. We read of Lot and the critical situations with his family. The Bible speaks of weak wives and strong wives, of weak husbands and strong husbands. We read of relatives and their influential powers to draw hearts away; even Jesus Christ was tempted by His mother and brethren to leave His preaching and come outside to visit them (Matt. 12:47–50). The Bible speaks of the process of David’s temptation with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), the process of temptation with Joseph (Genesis 39), and the process of the temptation with Achan (Joshua 7). Yes, the Bible even gives the record of temptations that lead to compromise as well as difficult and delicate situations. The Bible presents a variety of situations with relatives, business, neighbors, employees, and employers. It presents stories that include situations with carnal believers and how to handle them, and with carnal relatives who profess to be Christians. It addresses situations with governments—when it is righteous and when it is against God. The Bible reveals situations when laws are passed that are against God, and what we are to do with such laws.
What am I to do when I am alone? What am I to do when parents reject me? What am I to do with sickness, temporary or terminal? What am I to do with pain or discomfort? What is a wife to do when a husband forsakes her and their children? And how do I come to know what is right for my life, my occupation, my calling; how do I follow through with such commitments? The Bible reveals situations when the tribulations of life are overwhelming, when individuals did not know if they had the strength to live one more day.
God Wrote It All in the Bible
God placed in the Bible examples of all these circumstances and situations. The Bible is a book of eternal principles, a sacred book declaring God Himself and His Truth. But all is couched in human language, human living, human feelings, and human thoughts. God breathed all these words, but He did so through men in the circumstances and history of life. We read of Joseph being sold into slavery and taken down into Egypt. We read of how he as a young man dealt with it and of the fallout from this seeming tragedy. Moses wrote many details concerning the children of Israel, including how they rejected him. But how did Moses handle the people’s gainsaying and rejection? The story unfolds that Moses sometimes responded well and at other times he did not. Then there is the historical narrative of Daniel, a prophet caught in the vortex of the Babylonian and Persian governments. Similarly, Esther was caught as a woman in the Persian empire. Paul’s life is told revealing his far-flung missionary journeys among the Gentiles. Matthew records the narrative of Jesus’ earthly sojourn from a Jewish perspective; Mark, from a servant’s perspective; Luke, from a perfect-man perspective; and John, from heaven’s perspective of Christ’s deity.
Is there a story of love in the Bible? We read of pure love in the Book of Ruth, and of the prime of love in the beautiful Song of Solomon. We will also read of the need of wisdom and discernment in the Book of Proverbs. Ecclesiastes reveals what is gained by a backslider returning to God after twenty years. The Bible presents denial, as Peter denied His Lord. We read of good marriages, bad marriages, good children and bad children, good grandchildren and bad grandchildren, etc. Yes, they are all found in the Bible!
With every conceivable situation, disposition, and circumstance of life found in the Bible, this precious book conveys the fullness of my life within its pages. It tells me everything that I will ever face, and how God wants me to come to Him, to overcome, and to live. And thus, ultimately how to be conformed to the image of the blessed Son of Man.
Dear reader, the Bible is both a universal book and a personal self book. It tells me how to deal with sins committed, of the carnality that controls the self; it reveals that sanctification is an individual working of God to deal with the sin that has uniquely come out through me. Romans 7 reveals two different I’s or self’s. There is the self that God made, and there is the self that sin has made. The Bible reveals how I am to walk in the Spirit, and how I am to live in the Spirit? This blessed book reveals how providence works in individual lives and in individual situations. Through all these inspired details exampled in the lives of those within the Scriptures, the Bible calls me to find Christ for every aspect of my life. Yea, I must find myself in Christ! As for the I’s in Romans 7, which one is to die, and which one is to live? If I am to live, how am I to live, and how am I to live in Christ (Gal. 2:20)?
When we read the Bible, the characteristics and principles are to be taken personally, for the stories reveal how individuals took the workings of God personally.
Perhaps the Book of Psalms is a book within the books of Scripture that is composed fully with the thoughts and words of individuals in the various circumstances of life. It truly is a book revealing personal, individual thoughts, more so than any other book in the Bible. These psalms, no doubt, cover every situation and circumstance we will ever face from our birth to our death. They reflect every mood of man’s life; there is no single feeling or image that is not reflected in its mirror. Psalms reveals all griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, and anxieties. Yes, they all are found within the Psalter of the Bible. As the Bible is to guide us in our faith and detailed practices of life, the Psalter is most valuable for our emotions and feelings.
Ever since they have been written, the psalms have played a large part in the life of God’s people. The Israelites used them in a prolific manner in the temple worship; the Jews over the centuries used them in the synagogues. And the Christians from New Testament times throughout Church history have sung them. We as Christians find ourselves treading the same paths as those Christians mentioned in the psalms. And within these psalms we find a hope for the same heart of trust in God.
May the Lord’s Spirit take the sacred book, my Bible, and make it my Gospel and my book. And may I become the product of its power and revelation for my personal life.